- Dan BaneCEO of Trader Joe's
Sell imperfect fruits and vegetables
Did you know that 40% of the food produced in the United States never gets eaten? This represents not only staggering financial waste, but also the loss of all nutrients, water, and energy used to produce that food. There are many avenues that lead to food waste, but perhaps most startling is that we throw away nearly 26% of all produce before it even reaches the grocery store due mostly to cosmetic standards that dictate exactly how fruits and veggies should look. If produce fails to make the grade for size, shape, or color, retailers deem it "ugly" and refuse to sell it in their stores. Billions of pounds of good, healthy produce goes uneaten because it’s not pretty!
Meanwhile, there are 1,833,810 people in Illinois who are food insecure - that's 1 in 7 people. For children, that number is 1 in 5. Part of the problem is the high cost of produce, making it difficult for low-income families to afford high quality fruits and vegetables.
Throwing away perfectly edible food because of arbitrary cosmetic standards makes no sense, especially when so many people go hungry each day. In addition to being a waste of nutritious food, dumping literal tons of unspoiled food is filling landfills, contributing to climate change through the production of greenhouse gases during decomposition, and wasting resources used to grow water-intensive fruits and vegetables. With 21 stores in the Chicagoland area, Trader Joe's has great potential to reduce food waste and increase access to nutritious food.
I'm Bethany Olson and I think there is a simple solution that can help alleviate these problems. I am calling on Trader Joe's to help stop massive food waste by embracing healthy, delicious "imperfect" produce and selling it in their stores nationwide. Will you join me?
We want Trader Joe's to combat food waste by marketing ugly produce as they do traditional produce using a fun campaign, like the French supermarket giant Intermarche did with its “Inglorious Fruits and Vegetables Campaign.” In the U.S., Whole Foods has been testing the sale of imperfect produce at some of their Northern California stores, and Giant Eagle in Pittsburgh, PA, began their "Produce with Personality" pilot in March. Stores across Europe, Australia, and Canada that have started selling "less than perfect" produce, offering it at an average of 30% off, have seen increased store traffic and total sales. Trader Joe's has an opportunity to be an early influence, being in the good company of those aforementioned and can take a national leadership role in this movement.
Join the ugly fruit and vegetable revolution. Ask Trader Joe's to be part of the solution, not the problem. Tell them to add the “uglies” to their store aisles so you can save money, fight hunger and help the environment all in one. Remember, when it comes to fruits and vegetables, true beauty is on the inside.
- CEO of Trader Joe's
Please start selling "ugly" produce in the Chicagoland area.
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